That's not his age-it's the wedding shoot count Marcus Revilla logs as 2007 comes to a close. This is a story about a young man who nearly spent his Libra life with litigants, not lenses.
At 38, Revilla is the founder of an eponymous wedding photography studio in San Antonio, Texas. Back in college, however, this left-brainer was considering medicine, biochemistry, and law as a career-there wasn't a germ of photography under his microscope. "I didn't have a vision of being a photographer," he explains. "I attended college with the intention of going into medicine or corporate law, but as luck would have it, a series of events in the early 2000s made me realize that research and drug-company politics were not in the cards."
To take his mind off of conflicting career decisions, Revilla turned to a trusted, dusty camera and returned to shooting.
It's A Start
While still in college, Revilla's photography hobby began pulling in extra cash. He upgraded to a Nikon N80 and was hooked. He began shooting weddings in the area and found that he was not inspired by what his peers were producing. "Not to say there was anything wrong with the couples-it was just that the wedding industry in San Antonio was extremely traditional and the output was rather flat," he recalls.
Revilla eventually stumbled upon a key online photography forum and asked a photographer in California if she'd let him come shoot with her. "I needed to expand beyond the San Antonio vision," he says. "There is such a huge world out there in photography-the West Coast had its own style, regions on the East Coast had their own styles. She invited me to shoot with her, but at the last minute she felt it would be better if I worked with someone closer to home."
Enter Brooks Whittington. Revilla met with Whittington and learned more than he could have on his own, including technical and stylistic aspects of photography, editing, and marketing. Whittington became both a strong influence and a best friend. "To this day I owe my success to him," says Revilla. "Being able to capture the moment as it truly occurs without buttering it up, and not making it something it isn't, is a very important element I learned from Brooks."
He's Got The Look
Revilla is methodical and consistent when commenting about his work style and choice of gear-he shunned digital until 2005. "I was skeptical," he says, noting that his mentor, Whittington, had baptized him using developing chemicals and a film workflow. "I remained stubborn. I didn't feel digital was ‘there' yet, and peers were reinforcing my sentiment."
Revilla eventually gave digital a try. "I admit I'm not the most savvy when it comes to computers, and the whole digital workflow seemed a tad intimidating," he says. "After some trials, I realized it was much better than working with film. I had complete control over everything I was doing. It was new and fresh."
He's definitely sure about what he uses now. "I know every piece of gear in my bag inside and out," he says. "Being methodical and consistent keeps me comfortable and helps me avoid the unexpected." Select gear includes: Canon EOS-1Ds, EOS 40D, and EOS 30D bodies; lenses ranging from a 24mm f/1.4 USM to a 15mm f/2.8 fisheye lens; plus various lighting like an AlienBees Ringflash, Canon Speedlite 580EX, and Sto-Fen Omni-Bounce.
"I continuously acquire new gear and have moved to the new Canon f/1.2 L lenses-best for the low-light environments that I love," Revilla says. "If I had to pick a single thing I love most, it's low light. I also love fast lenses: two great tastes that go together. I like to use natural elements and not corner myself with limits. When faced with ultra-bright lighting, there are two ways I approach a shot: I either find shade and do some great soft lighting, or I play up the hard light and aim for contrast."